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What’s in Your Box: Bags Straight From Japan

/ Oct 1st, 2016 No Comments

Persona 5

Each week, we here at Gaming Illustrated are always playing a number of different video games. However, we may not be talking about them in reviews or editorials. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth talking about, but for any number of reasons an avenue to speak on them doesn’t come up. To remedy the issue, we’re going to ask our staff (and you, honestly) what’s in your box?

What’s in Greg’s Box

If I told you I’ve been playing anything else, well I’d be lying. Never has an MMO enthralled me like Guild Wars 2.

Their concept of “The Living World” makes it feel like choices I make actually change the world around me. Battles will randomly take place in various parts of the game, and if participated in will earn me experience and in-game currency, as well as effectively gain new outposts for whomever I assist.

One particular battle zone involves a non-stop struggle between humans and centaurs for land. Should nobody defend the zone against the centaur incursion, they will force humans out of some settlements, thus making it impossible to use their warp zones for quickly traveling about the map.
 

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 has taken over Greg’s life. It is a problem.


Luckily nothing has any lengthy permanence and the battle begins anew quickly, giving players another chance to push the centaurs out and further back into their own compound.

To top it off, Guild Wars has some of the better optional exploration quests. They all involve platforming puzzles which are the bread and butter of my entire existence.

What’s in Kalvin’s Box

My box this week saw me return to an old love, and fumble around in the dark trying to navigate a game in a language I don’t understand. This week I played an unhealthy amount of Destiny and tried to play through some Persona 5.

Bags Straight from Japan

When one of my friends told me they were heading to Japan for a few weeks after PAX West. I realized what that meant. He’d be in Japan during the release of Persona 5. I knew I had to get him to ferry me back a copy of the game rather than importing it and dealing with the vagaries of international shipping.

Turns out there aren’t a ton of electronics stores that sell video games in Japan like there are in America. He had to run around on his final day there to find me a copy, but he did find one like the good man he is. So yeah, now I have a Japanese copy of Persona 5.

Do I understand a lick of Japanese? You bet I don’t! But I’ve played enough Persona and Shin Megami Tensei games that I feel confident I can fumble around in the dark.
Despite not understanding Japanese, I am blown away by the sophistication of the storytelling for Persona 5. While the content is lost on me, the way the narrative is constructed is very clear.

The story begins in medias res where we meet the protagonist and his party already firmly in their criminal careers. The protagonist is breaking into a casino and trying to avoid security guards. When they catch up to him they turn into masked looking shadows.

The protagonist ends up snapping the neck of one guard revealing him to be a nasty shadow. You get the feeling (because I don’t understand Japanese, obviously) that there is more to the masked “criminal” activity than meets the eye.

It goes from this early heist to the past where the protagonist is getting set up with a room. In a similar fashion to Yu Narukami in Persona 4, he seems to be living with an uncle. His room is in the back of a ramen shop, and that’ll act as the base of operations.
 

Persona 5

I can’t wait to see what the classroom is like!


Besides the little details of the story I gleamed from my short play through, the new dungeon mechanics they showed off early in the game are very exciting. There is more actual movement to exploring a dungeon than simply running down branching paths in a dungeon.

The protagonist jumps across high hanging platforms in the casino in his escape. The stealth gets an upgrade with being able to hide behind objects and dash between them to keep cover. It looks like the time between Persona 4 and now has allowed P-Studios to up their game.

What time I’ve spent with Persona 5 so far just makes the wait for the US release agonizing. However, I can’t wait to get a better idea of what’s actually going on.

What Have I Become?

I never thought it would happen again. Yet here we are. I am addicted to Destiny once more. It was innocuous. My intention was to experience the Rise of Iron expansion to review and get out.
You know what they say, the best laid plans of something and whosits. This week I have spent a crazy amount of time playing Destiny, perhaps an unhealthy amount.

Rise of Iron’s main campaign can be breezed through, but it has a nice endgame selection that adds hours of playtime. Some of that’s getting raid ready to tackle War of the Machines, but a lot of it is trying to master Archon’s Forge, which is hella fun, and going through the epilogue story bits.
 

Destiny: Rise of Iron

The Wretched Eye gives a good hint at what the Devil Splicers are really doing.


The Devil Splicers are a cool new addition to the enemy make-up of Destiny. What you end up learning about their hierarchy and their depravity is really eye opening.

Outside of the Rise of Iron content, I’ve been catching up on The Taken King since I completely missed the expansion. The Taken King truly was a significant content addition. It put to shame the previous expansions and marked a better direction for the story telling and level design for the game.

Both Rise of Iron and The Taken King have amazing climaxes. It makes playing through their campaigns totally worth it. Even if Rise of Iron is a more satisfying story on the whole, The Taken King has a killer amount of endgame content.

Besides digging through the story content, I nearly stayed up all night one day grinding out gear. The gear grind got cumbersome in vanilla Destiny, but with all the new content additions, it is now less grueling and more satisfying to get new gear. In the hours I spent grinding, I significantly raised my light level, which makes me lament the hours wasted in vanilla Destiny trying to do the same.
 

Destiny: Rise of Iron Review

The Plaguelands are great for patrolling.


Playing with my buddy, I mentioned that I forgot how much I loved playing Destiny. He brought up the point that the game has almost perfect mechanics. They are satisfying and work extremely well to make some of the repetitive grinding never feel like you’re grinding.

Yet his issue has always been content. It took three years for there to be enough content to make the game feel truly significant. He mentioned Destiny 2 and what incentive is there to buy it day one if he knows that three years in he can get the complete collection to get a content flushed game?

While I do believe Destiny lives beyond its content, my buddy did have a point. Is it reasonable to invest in the next Destiny if we know that over two or three years they’ll add a ton of significant content and release a value bundle of it all? Or has Bungie learned from some of the pitfalls of vanilla Destiny and release a content rich game at launch?
 

Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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